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    Non Profits: Sustainability, Entrepreneurship, Social Impact

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    Each year, the magazine Fast Company sponsors the Social Capitalist Awards

    (http://www.fastcompany.com/social/2008/index.html). First, look at the methodology section (http://www.fastcompany.com/social.2008/articles/methodology.html) that describes the criteria that Fast Company uses to select award winners. Using these criteria, browse through the list of award winners and identify why five of these winners meet the evaluation criteria.

    In addition, explore how these winners tell their story, describe their mission, engage volunteers, and measure success.

    Guidance is needed.

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    Solution Preview

    Here are the five winners I looked at and why I think they meet the evaluation criteria:
    1. First Book (http://www.firstbook.org/site/c.lwKYJ8NVJvF/b.674337/k.F229/Our_Story.htm)
    1. Social Impact: Of all the literacy groups First Book has the largest footprint due to their relationships with major publishers and other literacy groups. First Book is the "go to" organization for other reading organizations to get books. Over 50 million books since 1992 is huge. Coordinating publishers and literacy groups is key in the success.
    2. Aspiration and Growth: First Book aspires to be the central location for all involved in literacy to develop their programs and grow: by growing First Book. They organize locally with advisory boards that can raise funds, and also can allocate local funding to local groups. They organize national campaigns with service clubs (for instance Phi Beta Pi sorority) to do book giveaways; right now they are matching all donations (up to 50,000 books) through partnerships with corporations. First Book is primed to grow.

    3. Entrepreneurship: First Book strength is that it thinks like a private corporation. It has clever programs, great design, and is constantly looking for ways to increase its' market share. At Halloween they ran a promotion saying that kids were scared by the thought of not having books!

    4. Innovation: First Book is the first literacy organization to have a national book bank to collect books from publishers and allocate them to non-profits across the US. Typically the books are available to groups meeting certain conditions (age of children, income level) and cost the receiving group the cost of freight (usually 35 cents a book). This is a great, unique way to rescue excess, unwanted books from publishers and put them in the hands of needy children. It also has a Market Place in which it sells books at a discount to groups year round.

    5. Sustainability: Kyle Zimmer started the organization in 1992.... it is now bigger than ever. She does smart things, has aligned herself with smart partners (major publishers, Ashoka, Target, Verizon). In a U.S. Department of Education, Fund for the Improvement of Education, First Book was shown to increase interest in reading among children, work well for local programs, and improve communities (http://www.firstbook.org/site/c.lwKYJ8NVJvF/b.674339/k.B71/Our_Impact.htm) WOW! First Book demonstrates a good income stream from the Market Place as well as books donated from publishers. Both are derived and related to the organization's core competency. In addition the management team is strong and well aligned with the mission of the program.

    2. Reach out and Read (reachoutandread.org)
    1. Social Impact: This organization gives books out during clinic pediatrician visits to children from 6 months to 5 years. The important concept is that reading is part of the developmental growth of the child, and if a book is supplied by a doctor the parent is more likely to understand the importance of reading. Doctors are also instructed to give suggestions to parents about reading aloud to their child and developmental touch points. The ...

    Solution Summary

    This very detailed solution reviews five of the Social Capitalist Award winners selected by Fast Company and reviews their entrepreneurship, innovation, social impact, sustainability, aspiration and growth. The solution gives information about each of the non-profit companies and outlines how they fit the criteria for winning the award.